Demelza is still holding down the fort in Cornwall, as Ross and Caroline, strolling in London, observe Geoffrey Charles being egged on in an ale-chugging contest by some rowdy profligates and prostitutes. Geoffrey Charles, reeling, still can’t hold his liquor, and Ross quickly spirits him away, to the displeasure of Monk Adderley, who is part of the group.
The long-suffering Nat Pearce has finally kicked the bucket. Harris Pascoe, whose bank’s depositors are (so far) unknowing victims of Pearce’s malfeasance, is worried. Over Pearce’s coffin, he reassures his spendthrift son-in-law, St. John Peter, that his wife’s dowry is safe. Not so: George and Cary, eager to ruin Ross financially, distribute anonymous flyers warning that Pascoe’s Bank is “on the verge of insolvency.”
Zacky Martin brings Demelza the news, and they watch as Pascoe attempts to reason with his alarmed depositors. Demelza needs to withdraw funds for Ross’s mine payroll. Pascoe begs her to delay, and not wanting to put him out of business, she appeals instead to Lord Falmouth for a loan. He gives it to her, on the condition that it go to the mine and not “to prop up a shaky bank.” But Demelza does just that – having divided the cash between herself, Zacky, Prudie, and Sam, they wade through the angry mob outside Pascoe’s and make a great show of being depositors. Despite their truly terrible acting, the crisis seems to have been averted, for now.
Sam urges Drake to abandon his ruined forge and move in with him in the village, but Drake turns him down – after jilting Rosina, it might be best if he left town for good. Later, moping along the cliff path, he encounters Rosina, who admonishes him to buck up and stay the course – if she can bear the humiliation, so can he. Burn! Later, as he and Sam drag his belongings to Sam’s lodgings, it is clear that Drake is now a town pariah, but the brothers grimly soldier on.
Elizabeth, nauseated, surmises that she is pregnant. Recalling Ross's advice to give George “another eight-month child,” she puts on a brave face and doesn’t say a word.
Lady Whitworth is highly displeased that Morwenna has summoned Dwight again. Morwenna, still depressed, wants only oblivion, a feeling to which Dwight can relate. He urges her to forget Ossie’s despicable actions and look to the future. “If only that were possible,” says Morwenna sadly.
A coach enroute to Cornwall approaches, carrying Caroline, her pug Horace, Ross, and a hungover Geoffrey Charles. Ross urges Geoffrey Charles to stay on George’s good side; to Ross’s amusement, Geoffrey Charles scoffs that George’s subsidy is the only reason he puts up with him.
George and Cary, not to be outdone by “that scullery maid” Demelza, demand immediate repayment of a substantial loan St. John Peter took out with their bank. To cover his losses, he will have to withdraw his wife’s dowry from Pascoe’s Bank, throwing it into crisis again. In a few months, they imply, St. John can apply for another loan from them. St. John, invested only in saving his own skin, agrees. Pascoe’s Bank goes under, and Cary and George celebrate Ross’s ruin. George is certain Elizabeth will be thrilled (really?), and sets off to share the news.
Meanwhile, an unknowing Ross delivers Geoffrey Charles back to Elizabeth at Trenwith. They toast to their friendship, agreeing to keep their meeting from George. Ross comes face to face with little Valentine, and it seems clear to Ross (and maybe Valentine, too) that he is Ross’s son. As Ross departs, to Elizabeth’s horror, his carriage crosses paths with George’s in the drive. Luckily, George doesn’t see the occupant, but he is (as always) suspicious. Elizabeth pretends to George that Geoffrey Charles just arrived alone.
At Killewarren, Dwight unexpectedly encounters a nervous Caroline, with Horace, after a seven-month separation. Overjoyed at her return, he reassures her that he understands why she needed the time away. Can she consider becoming a mother again? Caroline is still hurting, but doesn’t rule it out for the moment.
That evening, Demelza vents to Prudie that, despite her efforts, Pascoe Bank has failed and they’ve lost everything…including the loan from Lord Falmouth. “I’m an idiot!” she exclaims. Ross materializes, warmly assuring her that she is anything but.
The next day, Ross learns from Pascoe about the anonymous flyer; they both guess the source. Pascoe’s assets and liabilities have been taken over by Bassett’s bank, where Pascoe has been installed as chief clerk (a big comedown, but at least it’s a job). Ross, appalled at the injustice, appeals to the wealthy landowners for help in restarting Pascoe’s Bank, but while most, including Bassett, are sympathetic, they don’t want to take the risk. Ross suggests that Bassett consolidate his bank with Pascoe’s to form a larger bank. Bassett is wary, but…
…the miners still await their wages. To thank them for their patience, Demelza and Ross host a bonfire and feast (“a barrel of ale and stargazy pie”), complete with homemade fireworks. Drake is still depressed; Sam advises him to try again with Morwenna. The next day, Drake does; tearfully, she reveals that Ossie left her with child and whatever they had is over. Dejected, he leaves.
Demelza confides to Caroline that she desperately wants to join Ross in London, but she hasn’t been asked -- perhaps he doesn’t want her there. Caroline offers to invite her there herself.
Members of the gentry, including the Poldarks, Enyses, and Warleggans, gather for the opening of the new infirmary. The Rev. Halse (played by Robin Ellis, the original 1970s Ross Poldark), delivers a long, sanctimonious speech as the lofty benefactors pat themselves on the back for their own generosity. At the reception afterward, Ross and George nearly come to blows, and Elizabeth keels over in a faint. Treating her afterward, Dwight later asks her if she might be pregnant. Elizabeth, knowing that she is, insists that she isn’t. Later, over her protests, George summons Dr. Choake. (Didn’t he hear about Armitage?)
That night, Ross receives a note from Lord Bassett. Meanwhile at Killewarren, a restless Caroline is anxious to return to the social whirl in London. “This time,” she tells Dwight, “I want my husband with me.” Unwilling to be separated from her again, Dwight happily acquiesces.
Bassett convenes a meeting of the newly formed Cornish Bank and introduces two new partners: Pascoe and Ross (Bassett has taken Ross’s advice after all). Afterward, Ross asks Demelza to accompany him to London. Demelza is thrilled – finally, she is going with him! She hates to leave the children, but is excited as they leave.
At Trenwith, Elizabeth, fed up with Dr. Choake’s quackery (and who wouldn’t be?), reveals to George that she is pregnant, lying to him about her due date. George is ecstatic. Cary sourly brings them the news of the Cornish Bank and Ross’s involvement. As usual, the wheels start turning...
Cut to morning in London, where a naked Demelza has overslept and Ross is dressing for Parliament. Somehow, her nightgown has ended up all the way across the room and Ross, playfully leering, won’t fetch it. They end up on the carpet, one thing leads to another, and…breakfast will have to wait.